Home Staging Tips To Attract The Right Buyer

My branding coach always says that I don’t want to just attract clients, I want to attract the right clients for me and my message needs to align with my ideal clients expectations. Selling your house is really no different. Your house has to align with your ideal buyer’s wants and needs. And, most likely, her buyer is going to be someone younger than her looking for a fresher feeling space.

Attracting the right buyers is great. Aligning with their expectations is even better.

I believe that you can sell your house quickly in any market. You just need the right tools and information. So what can you do to attract today’s buyers and make them really, really want your house when they come to see it? Here are some Home Staging tips that buyers in 2013 love to see:

Lots of Pictures

20-25 photos will really display your property and give buyers plenty of information to consider a visit. You know that happens when you do that? You know that when someone is coming to your house, they really liked what they saw online and you are more likely to get an offer.

Kitchen Updates

Now, if you have a recently updated kitchen, you are in great shape and just need to follow these Home Staging tips for your photos and showings:

clear your countertops for your photo session.
remove all accessories that are placed on top of cabinets, including plants. Honestly, that is more likely to turn off buyers than the older model refrigerator.
remove all magnets from the refrigerator
remove the banana tree-I see this so often and always wondered who bought those things. um… everyone it seems.

Once your photos are taken, I am more lenient about what you can keep out just don’t make it look like you are having an appliance or tchotchke yard sale! That said, keep the stuff off the tops of the cabinets. It really dates your house and turns today’s buyers off.

If your kitchen is older and full of oak cabinetry, your first thought may be to add granite counters. Honestly, you would be amazed what just painting the cabinets and updating to stainless appliances can do when Staging your kitchen. Buyers today love lighter kitchens. 9 out of the top 10 kitchens on houss.com last year had white cabinetry-and all had stainless appliances-so dig out your paint gear and get going!

Neutral Paint Colors

Do you have a room (or two) that even you are questioning may be turn off to buyers? Go with your gut on this one! I’d rather have you put in extra work now than be left sitting with an unsold house later. There are some great neutrals that can work beautifully with a lot of color schemes.

Bathroom Updates

Buyers today love a spa like setting in the bathroom. You can Stage it by:

painting a neutral color
adding white towels (not embellished with chords or trim or themed)
adding a white shower curtain
making sure everything is off the counters
removing bathmats or rugs of any kind on floor or toilet seat cover
removing the plunger from next to toilet
painting dated tile
changing out the mirror and/or light fixture
adding a frameless shower enclosure

Window Updates

I’m strictly talking about the decorative element of windows here. I see so many outdated window treatments in my line of work and they are probably the things that I change most often in my clients’ homes. Valances, swags and jabots, and fat verticle blinds really make your house feel tired and old. Buyers today like straight panels that reach the floor and natural woven shades. Now, I know that buyers can easily change out the window treatments themselves, but honestly, they can’t visualize how your house could look hip and fresh with the outdated ones in place. Invest in some reasonably priced ones from Target and Ikea-my go to sources for inexpensive fashionable window coverings-and they might even ask to include the treatments in the sale.

Strategic Accessorizing In Your Home Staging Plans

In the world of interior home design, accessorizing is known as the ‘icing on the cake’. It encompasses the finishing touches, the fixtures of color, shape, size, and texture that complete the look and feel of an area of the house. Accessories can leave a big visual impact, or make the style you are going for memorable to the viewer. In professional home staging, accessories assume an important role in appealing to the emotions and senses of potential buyers, and if the right accessories are used, home staging efforts can make the house more marketable.

During the planning stages and discussions with a home staging professional, a specific budget and strategy for accessorizing should be determined and prepared. This is an excellent idea in order to avoid spending too much money and effort on buying the main furniture pieces or fixtures of a room or area of the house, and then ending up with very little or no resources for the finishing accessories.

The following are some simple suggestions and tips for accessorizing around the home:

Shelves and display cases – Books aregreat for accessorizing shelves and display areas around the home. They also add charm, personality and character to the space, and books and magazines can be chosen to reflect regional or cultural flavors (i.e. picture books about your town’s history).

Layering is a technique – You can think of accessorizing in much the same way you complete a clothing ensemble using layered clothing. The results will not be successful if the basic steps are not done right. Renovations, repainting jobs, lighting replacements, and other things that need fixing or arranging should be in place before you add the final accessorizing touches.

Accessories are accent pieces – Look around the home and focus on those nooks, corners, and spaces that lack a decorative finish. Always remember that accessories are generally not meant to take away the focus or attention from the focal point of a room; if an accessory that you install in an area of the home is hogging all the attention, it becomes the main attraction instead of the complementary element.

Don’t overdo it – As previously stated, accessories are intended to complement, so avoid too much accessorizing. Keep it simple and minimize the clutter, but the d├ęcor of the area should be completed by the accessories. Colors can be bright or bold, but they must, as much as possible, blend in or work with the overall style of the home.

If You Won’t Play The Game, Get Off The Bench

Not too long ago, I went to watch a university hockey game. I love college hockey. It’s fast, skilled and all the players are usually determined to play their best. On this particular game I was excited to watch a player who had played with my son, many years ago in minor hockey. His name was Kyle. He had much success in his hockey career and was in his final year of eligibility. He was the leading scorer of the team. In fact, scouts came to the game from a couple of semi-professional leagues just to watch him play.

I best remember him as extremely skilled but very independent and hot tempered. You really didn’t want to get on his bad side. In the second period, I noticed the coach wanting Kyle to get back into the bench. Kyle refused to skate to the bench. He finally did and an argument ensued in front of all who were in attendance between Kyle and the coach. Kyle was eventually ordered to leave the bench and never returned to the game. He didn’t like that, but neither did the coach. Kyle wasn’t much of a team player, that game.

So what does hockey have to do with home staging? Everything. Like many companies and projects, successful home staging has a team approach. In many ways, the real estate agent is like the general manager, selecting the right players who will best sell the client’s home quickly and at the best price. Choosing the right home stager is critical to the sale of a home. Proven experience and skill should always be a metric for success. Sometimes the real estate representative will micro manage a sale, others will delegate. Each has its merit but in the end, the real estate agent is accountable for the success or failure of a listing. This is where the team players all have to step up and be the best.

I can best speak from the perspective of a furniture rental company, who has been involved in many home staging projects. Yes, I have always considered furniture rental as a member of the team. Furniture rental companies don’t just rent, they sell a service package that totally supports the home stager and in essence, the real estate agent.

From quality product, to delivery, to install to pick-up, rental companies need to be depended on to fulfill the expectations of their clients, often the home stager. But, we are a team. I have always found that the most successful home stagings and furniture rental installations are dependent on reasonable planning time, high organizational skills from all involved and mutual respect of all team players. There is NO sense to bully, force or take advantage of others, thinking that one is not as important as the other. I used to roll my eyes at the dynamics of a Donald Trump Apprentice episode. Leaders must lead, but there should be mutual respect from each other. The goal is always to succeed in selling the home in the most cost effective way in the shortest time possible at the best possible price.

I remember when I was approached by a very good client, a home stager, and was asked if I could lower my pricing by 35% for a particular project that had a very tight budget. I agreed. I knew neither the homeowner, agent nor home stager were taking advantage of each other. It was just a calculated financial issue. I was being part of the team. I have also been asked to buy particular custom products to make a staging more successful. I understood, and we did. We looked good doing it, the home stager looks good for the quality of the staging package and most importantly the real estate agent looks good selling the home at maximum price.

My final point is that if we are all players on a team, the team should be carefully selected. When approaching a furniture rental company, find out how many home stagings they have experience with, ask for references if you wish, find out if they are totally dedicated to furniture rental or do they do home staging on the side. A true furniture rental company will NOT participate in home staging and will often refer up to three home stagers to an end user or real estate representative, IF ASKED. The fewer key areas for conflict of interest, the better. I would like to add that loyalty goes a long way. The more the team stays together on home staging projects, the more flexible they are to each other. Truly a furniture rental company, if successful can become a home stager’s BFF!

Now let’s get back to Kyle. He in fact realized his behaviour was a detriment to the team. He didn’t score any goals the next game but he did get 4 assists! He understood what team meant. I think all those involved in real estate and home staging have their own teams. Consequently, players change, often for the sake of improvement. Vince Lombardi, legendary NFL coach said it best about the value of a team. He said, “individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” May you and your team continually achieve success!